Tag Archives: Parent Meetings

How to Partner With Parents

Ask any youth ministry veteran what they wished they did more of in their first few years of ministry, and partnering with parents will probably be in their top 3, if not their top wish.  It is so important to get on the same team as your parents in youth ministry.  This book will help you be the assistant coach to the head coach (parents) that you can be.teamup

Book Review:  Team Up by Phil Bell

The Good:

Pep Talk.  Skeptical of involving parents in your ministry?  Well, at least read chapter one and then let me know what you think.  The author does a great job grabbing the reader’s attention in the first chapter to explain the importance of parent involvement.

Practice Makes Perfect.  At the end of each chapter, the practice drills are dynamite.  They provide ways to implement everything you just read.  These could also be put to good use in parent meetings.

Super Practical.  Man, I came away from this book with tons of ideas for parent meetings and boosting my relationships with parents.  How do you do parent meetings, how do you communicate, how do you _______.  It’s all there and the steps are all written out.  Right on Phil Bell!

The Bad:

Gimme Some Cheat Codes.  The only thing I really feel like this book is missing is some devotional or lessons for parents using God’s Word.  It would be nice to get some example of lessons or portions of the parent seminars that were mentioned in the book.  I’m not looking to copy the entire presentation, but passages used, more detail of topics covered, and lessons that proved to be effective would be beneficial for the reader.

The Grade:  A-.  Talk about a practical ministry book that everyone in youth ministry should read.  This would be the one.  After reading it, I texted a few of my youth ministry buddies right away and told them about this one.  So this me telling you all, get this book and be encouraged by ways you can minister to and with parents.

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2014 Year In Review

497606412_640Last year, these were my 2014 ministry goals.  Each year, I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve the Lord in such a wonderful ministry, church, and community.  Here’s how things played out this year, and maybe these ideas will help spark ideas for you new year.

  • “Bible Doing” – Bible Studies are great, but so is “Bible Doing”. During our local mission trip we held a Bible study that put our Bible lessons in action. Grade: A
  • Wedding & Funeral Message Outlines/Scripts – This took a great deal of prep work and discipline to sit down and write wedding scripts and funeral scripts even when I didn’t have any weddings or funerals to perform. But God knew…I had the privilege of officiating my first wedding, and had the honor of doing my grandmother’s funeral. Grade: A
  • Music Training Class – This class in still in the planning process. However, God supplied a new student praise band of 6 members.   This student-led band was a huge answer to prayer. Grade: Incomplete
  • Junior High Mission Trip – We held a mission project at the apartments right next door to the church. We helped landscape and clean up areas surrounding the apartments. It was a huge success building relationships with neighbors, and some even visited the church the following Sunday! Grade: A
  • Community Project – This project was combined with the Mission Trip described above. Grade: A
  • Host “Ask Your Leaders” Night – This night was a true blessing. Teens asked both informal and in-depth spiritual questions. Examples included questions about dating, afterlife, creation, and much more. Grade: B. Not every student was prepared with a question. I could have done better in allowing to think about questions for a longer period of time than just a few days
  • Sunday School Rehab – High School Sunday School has made some positive changes to teaching structure and discussion. And a Junior High Sunday School started this year!! Grade: A
  • Equip Parents/Families – Spiritual Growth Planning with several families, and expansion of Parent Training in Parent Meetings. Grade: B-. I still need to improve here. The meetings are my strength, but the informal discussions and meeting with parents outside of church walls needs to improve.
  • Continue Inter-generational and Discipleship Ministry– Young at Heart Lunch & Service, Combined Adult/Teen Service Projects. Grade: B+. Always room for improvement here, but was pleased with the progress.
  • Outreach – Easter Egg Hunt, Teen Outreach Events, & Better Visitor Discipleship/Follow-up. Grade: C. Sure there was great outreach with events and those that attend the church, but what about on the school campuses. Please pray I will have more opportunities to go on campus to share Christ.

2014 G.P.A. – 3.38.

Didn’t make the honor roll this year. Still have room for improvement. But I will say this, God truly blessed. I was able to perform a wedding for my sister-in-law, honor my grandmother in her homegoing, be part of two teens accepting Christ, serve alongside teens in numerous service projects in the church and community, and saw some incredible growth in teens and their parents. Thank you Lord for all you did in 2014. To God be the glory.

 

 

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6 Steps to Parent Meeting Success

If you haven’t figured it out yet, parents are important to your success in youth ministry or student ministry. And by success, I mean the spiritual growth, depth, and love for the Savior in the teens in your youth group. I say that, because you can grow your youth group by numbers without the aid of parents, whether it is by heavy programming or giving away an iPhone for answering a question in Sunday school.parent_meeting_dribbble-1innh9r

But if you are seeking spiritual depth, if you are seeking a faith in your students that lasts beyond their high school years, if you are seeking a unity and health within your church…you must lock arms with your parents into battle. Teenagers are facing tremendous battles like the negatives of social media (gossip, cyber-bullying, self-centeredness), sexual pressures that happen everywhere from the office chair in front of a computer to taking the next step in a physical relationship, stress for academic achievement, loneliness & abandonment…and the list goes on. Why would you not want another ally in youth ministry? It would be like an Army General being offered 25,000 more troops to help in a war effort and saying, “Nah, I can handle this on my own. I’ve got the training and experience, let me handle it”. It’s ludicrous. But this is happening all across the nation in youth ministries. Stop blaming the youth ministry for the exodus of young people, and take a look at the failure of combining the efforts of youth ministry and parents. That right there is a winning formula for a teenager.

Maybe it will take some more convincing. Maybe you have been burned in the past by parents. Well, even if you confidence needs rebuilding or your skepticism remains, I’d encourage you to give these steps and see how God can use parent meetings to build a healthier youth ministry.

Step #1 – Support Group

Your first goal is to communicate the parent meeting is FOR the parents. It should be obvious that a parent meeting is for…well…parents. But make sure you arrange the meeting to be something the parents enjoy and more importantly, need. Your attendance at parent meetings will always be a struggle, but if it is something that will benefit the parents, they will come.

One specific way is to arrange the room in tables. And following the meeting, explain you’d like the parents to pray for each other. Discuss how each of them are in the same battle, teenage-dom. And you may gain advice and counsel from other parents, but most important can pray for each other. This has been my favorite part of parent meetings. I’ve seen parents talking to each other long after prayer is over, and truly helping each other, life on life. It’s a beautiful thing.

Step #2 – Equip

Come prepared to teach the parents. Sure, the typical youth leader is younger and may not have teenagers of their own, but that doesn’t mean they cannot teach on parenting teenagers. Why? Because there is book that has the authority over all parents, and no one will argue with its content. It’s called the Bible. Other resources: The Seven Checkpoints (Stanley), Raising a Modern Day Joseph (Fowler), Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Tripp).

Step #3 – Youth Culture Update

This is really fun. Come up with a quiz of 10 questions about teen culture. CPYU.org is a great resource for articles and information for these culture quizzes. Plus, when you give away answers, you can give valuable insight on the question. Questions about drugs, social media habits, teens & driving, or academic trends are all good places to start. So much value in keeping your parents clued in on teen culture, and it will give you tremendous credibility, showing you do know things about teenager that parents do not.

Step #4 – Fill the Calendar Later

Many times, we as youth leaders make the mistake of making the parent meeting all about events, programs, and filling the calendar. Sure, there still should be a place for that. But email, calendars, and newsletter can provide that information just as easy. So why waste time in the parent meeting with information about events. Put this information in front of the parents, but talk more about the purpose during these meetings, rather than just dates, times, and permission forms.

world-war-3Step #5 – Prevent World War III

This may be the most important step, so are you listening? DO NOT ask for questions during the meeting. You are inviting disaster. When you open the floor, you are opening it up for criticism, questioning of programs, and you are put on the spot. Rather, make it clear at the end of the meeting you are available to chat afterwards, or the parents can email, text, or call with any questions they may have. This will save you. Trust me on this one.

Step #6 – Food & Childcare

Eliminate the excuses. Provide food and childcare, and you have eliminated 90% of the excuses right there. Plus, everyone likes to eat. So have your leaders help with planning a meal and helping with childcare, and more parents will attend.
Resources: Family-Based Youth Ministry (DeVries), Pushing the Limits (Walker, Calhoun), reThink (Wright)

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3 Ways to Stay In Touch (with youth culture), Part 2

Last week, you read 3 tips on how to stay in touch with teenage or youth culture.  I gave you a few ideas on where to get the information, but how do you get the word out?  Print out a page handout of the onlineslangdictionary.com and hand it out each Sunday?  That may be a start.  Here are some better tips on how to communicate or make that information available on a regular basis.

  1. Parent Meetings – Every parent meeting I have (I wish I had more, feel free to tell me how you are able to have them on regular basis), I include a time of updating the parents through a youth culture update.   Try to make it interesting, do a PowerPoint, have a quiz with a prize, show a short clip, etc.
  2. Youth Culture Updates – Except during holiday weeks and maybe a break in the summer, I try to have a youth culture update as a part of my weekly email.  It is something to draw them to the email each week and gives parent some equipping and knowledge that they may desire.  (Information typically comes from www.cpyu.org newsletters)
  3. Parent Seminars – Pray for me, I’m attempting my first at my new church.  In the past, these have been well attended and prove to be worth your time.  Parents want to know what is going on in their student’s lives.  So feed them with knowledge, and equip them with God’s Word in applying that knowledge in parenting.
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